#NaNoWriMo I Am Not An Animal! (I’m a Pantser)

Day 15 – the midway point for this year’s NaNoWriMo. My winner tee has already arrived! Not that I’m so cocksure of myself but it is the sort of carrot that helps spur me on. I folded it up and put it away, for now, to debut it at the Damned on November 28.


I am essentially a pantser – I have an idea, a loose set of events I think I’ll need to propel my story arc and then I start in – characters and other events present themselves as needed and develop as the story progresses. As I go along I make notes about their backstory, appearance that I sometimes refer to.

One of the good things about NaNo is that there is less time to make a decision – should I kill so-and-so – what if – then just go with it to see where it goes. I get less invested in scenes & often have a false start or merely a start that I’ll develop later. Sometimes an element I introduced gets repurposed to a better purpose in a later scene.


I also ignore the time sequences of the plot arc. So I’ve also written new scenes for the first half of the book even though I’m in the last half. I found that to account for what I wanted I needed some reference for it much sooner. For example my hero needs to be very agile to do some rather dangerous arial work suspended from the bottom of an elevator cage. So I tossed off a couple of scenes to go earlier in the book for him to show off his innate tumbler talent.


So far lots of things I hadn’t planned have happened – death of a child, marriage proposal, death of a major/minor player, political campaign. All of which are adding up rapidly – 30700 words so far 🙂


[a continuation of the scene I posted Wednesday]

“You must reap what you sew my child.” he said gently. “Her father said she was a willful, spiteful, conniving child and she had grown up to be even more so. Do you think I would let you ruin yet another family just to satisfy your need for depraved comfort. Why when I drove this … this …. harlot from my home months ago I was stunned to see her be taken into your bosom Miss McD. I feared she would be an asp. A snake in the grass.”

Lillian stood slowly. “Have you had your say uncle? Have you done your worse?”

“Lillian I mean no harm. Forgive me.”

“Forgiveness is not mine to give.” She looked him in the eyes. “If this is the consequence of my not bending to your depraved carnal desires then I am willing to suffer this consequence for keeping my honour intact.”

She opened the door to leave the study. “If you’ll excuse me Clara I will pack my things and see about moserviceving to a new abode.”

“No one will have you.” her uncle said. “No one.”

“Father Patrick.” Clara stopped Lillian. “You have said more than enough. You have perhaps revealed more about yourself than you have about Lillian.”

“How can you remain so … indifferent to this hussy’s actions.”

“Whatever her actions may have been, and I assure you, I realize she is no innocent babe, she has not displayed such a evil devious mind as you have. To revenge yourself is this way leaves me speechless.”

Lillian breathed a sigh of relief. To lie so boldly about her uncle had came to her without compunction. If he was going to go to such lengths to prevent her happiness with his deceptions why shouldn’t she resort to hers.

“This marriage will happen.” Clara said sternly. “Her family will be informed of your callous actions.”

“You think they banished her here on a whim?”

“They banished em because their reputation was more important to them than their child. Oh! Tt was alright for my brothers to get caught up in gambling, drunken galavanting behaviour.” Lillian found herself shouting. “But let their precious daughter show a bit of spirit and out she goes. When they thought I had lost any value as a marriage pawn to enhance their precious social standing they disposed of me like … like … a tea service that had gone out of fashion.” She turned to Clara. “If I am a calculating harlot looking for the best possible marriage then I learned it from them. It runs in the family apparently. Doesn’t uncle?” she wanted to slap the stunned look on his face. “Falsifying my death to suit your ends is no better. Runs in the family.”

She pushed Clara aside nearly knocking over Aileen who had been hovering near the door listening. She stood in the foyer resisting the temptation to run up to her room, slam the door and throw herself on her bed to cry. That’s what the woman in books did. Cry till some man came up the stairs to make things better for them.

“Aileen.” she said.

“Yes Miss?”

“If anyone wants me, I’ll be out in the garden. Those climbing roses need to be cut back.”

On her way through the kitchen she grabbed the gardening sheers and headed directly to the climbing roses. She’d been intending to remove the dead branches for weeks now and she attacked them with a vengeance.

She lost track of time as her anger dissipated. Why was every path she took caught in these unforeseen and unforeseeable brambles. Mr First Beau turning out to be unsuitable because of a Jewish great-grandmother, Mr Bad egg a trifler, Birk Mc being a protestant and so fearful of displeasing his mother and now this. If only she could cut these brambles as cleanly away from her path as the ones from the climbing bush.

With each clip she thought to herself ‘what can I do.’ ‘what can I do next.’


She felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Clara.

“Lillian I have been calling you for a few minutes.”

Lillian stood and wiped the sweat off her brow. “I couldn’t hear you over these.” She snipped at the air in front of her with the sheers.

“Then perhaps we’ll get them oiled properly so they won’t be so nosey in the future.” Clara smiled. “You uncle is certainly a man of actions and opinions.”

“Another of the McT bad traits.”

“Do you love my brother?”

“Love? I don’t know. If you mean that flood of blinding adoration, then, no, I don’t.” If that put the final touch on the end of this path she was ready to face it.

“That’s what I was hoping to hear. I’ve seen how you’ve dealt with him this past month. You know I wasn’t happy of this match but Steve would brook no argument with me. I didn’t want to distract him from his ambitions anyway and I figured you would fall by the wayside.”

“Sorry to disappoint you.”

“Oh I wasn’t disappointed. He was willing to listen to you on matters of appearance and even of how to present himself to the public that he would never had heeded from me.If anyone won the seat it was you just being by his side making sure he said the right things at the right time. Someone who was flooded with adoration couldn’t have been so … objective.”

“Thank you, Clara. This is the last thing I expected to hear you say.”

“Perhaps you’ve wondered why I never married?”

“Yes, but you did have your father to look after.”

“We had money and could have afforded to hire help but my father, much like yours I suspect, wanted to keep a protective eye on me. I never had the opportunity to meet a Mr Bad egg. Oh, a few men courted me but none ever found the approval of my father. Those that did were deemed suitable because of their social status, their financial potential and for no other reason.”

“I had never thought we might have that in common.”

‘But you have more determination that I ever had.”

“So does Father Pat.”

“It’s not you he’s striking out but your family. He told me about your father’s reaction to the death certificate. He may not have realized it but you’re father’s grief brought the good Father great …  I want to say pleasure but that’s not it at all. It gave him an opportunity to castigate your father for being such a Godless parent. For being indulgent and permissive.”


“Oh yes, allowing you opportunities to enjoy life that he himself had not had. Your family’s wealth and social position become more important to them than their faith and as a result you were their downfall and punishment.”

ice crystals

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